If you have a family member or loved one with Alzheimer’s or some type of dementia, this post is for you! Because Mother’s day is right around the corner, I’m sharing a huge list of unforgettable gifts for mom with dementia.
THE HUGE LIST OF UNFORGETTABLE GIFTS FOR MOM WITH DEMENTIA
Today’s post is a bit special, and out-of-the-ordinary for My Wee Abode.
For the few that may not know, my 83-year-old mom has Alzheimer’s and as of April 2022, I became her full-time primary caretaker.
Our Caretaker Schedule
In case your are wondering…
My siblings are a HUGE part of the caretaking for Mom. We have a wonderful schedule in place, and it has worked quite well for just over a year now (as of this writing).
Here is a sample of one of our monthly calendars:
- Sister: Monday and Wednesday, all day, and one Saturday a month
- Brother 1: Every Thursday evening for 3 hours, and one Saturday every two months
- Brother 2: One Saturday every two months, and ‘pitch-hits’ when needed
And, if I need a little ‘extra’ time, my sister (and sometimes my brothers) will come and let me run an errand or two while she sits with mom.
We are now looking for a caretaker agency that can help when my sis is gone on vacations. Right now, I’ve just ended a 12-day stretch with mom, with a few short breaks.
PLUS, Mom seems to be on a decline. As of last night, she didn’t know who I was and was asking me, “Where did Julie go?” She ‘snapped-out-of-it’ by bedtime, and was calling me Julie and telling me what a wonderful sister I am (me being her sister is the norm for months now).
So, a caretaker that we can hire for these longer stretches would be great!
Counting My Blessings…
I am SO thankful to the Lord for giving me siblings that are on board with me. That we have had this plan in place for over 12 months now is such a blessing. I’m well aware that this is NOT the norm for most caretakers. In so many situations, the caretaking is left to one family member. It overwhelms me to even think about that!
However, if the Lord placed me in the situation where I was alone with Mom, I know He would give me the grace, compassion, and strength to do it… or He would provide the means to have help. He is good, all the time!
Mother’s Day Gifts for Mom with Dementia
So, with Mother’s Day just around the corner, I’m thinking about gifts for my mom with Alzheimer’s.
And, just FYI, I am by NO means an expert on dementia or caretaking. But, these gift options for loved ones with cognitive impairment are things that my mom has enjoyed, or I believe she will enjoy at some point in her journey with this disease.
The gifts are separated by ‘type’, with one feature photo and then additional items listed below each feature photo.
Things to Remember as You Shop
One of the hardest things to deal with as far as Alzheimer’s and other dementias is, no two loved ones are alike… ever.
So, as you peruse these games and puzzles, and all these gifts for that matter, keep in mind that these may work for your loved one, but they may not. Think about what they like now. Remember, it might be different than what they liked before dementia reared its ugly head.
Sometimes, you have to try something to see if your loved one will enjoy the gift or not. It’s kind of a hit-or-miss type of thing. But, it’s often worth it just to try an item one time, and then get more if they DO like the gift!
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Games for Dementia Patients
Games are hard for my mom. But, these look like they might work well for her! I think I’ll add one to our collection.
Now, take a look at these other games. (Tap on the arrows to see more options.)
Children’s card games work well, as long as I prompt mom what to do each time it is her turn.
Coloring Books and Magic Water Paint Book Gifts for Mom with Dementia
Again, coloring books are a hit-or-miss with Mom. However, I know LOTS of moms and dads with dementia that still enjoy coloring.
Also, I’m sharing some “magic water paint” books… my mom enjoyed these until recently. Unfortunately, now she doesn’t understand that she can’t choose her own colors. Again, sometimes you gotta try it with your loved one before you can tell what works and what doesn’t.
Here are more coloring books and magic water books that are great options:
Also, if your mom (or dad) don’t like these, your GRANDKIDS will! LOL! Two of my ‘jellybeans’ have enjoyed the magic water color books the last two times they have come over. I’m betting it won’t be the last time they ask to paint!
Comfort Items for Loved Ones with Dementia
Although Mom is not at a point to use a comfort item for Alzheimer’s yet, I’m not at all closed to purchasing a ‘pet’ or baby doll for her in the future.
These items are a great source of comfort and calming to MANY dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. In advanced stages, your loved one may look at and care for these items as the real-thing. And in their world, it is.
Be sure to purchase a ‘pet’ that is soft and moveable. Many of the ‘dementia pets’ have hard bodies. Why, I’m not sure.
And, if you decide to ‘adopt’ a cute little orange fur baby, your loved-one just might want to name it! Take a look at these female orange cat names (that might just work for any fur baby!)
One nice thing about toy pets is they can go just about anywhere with you! BUT, if you have a real pet that your loved-one needs to take on shopping trips, take a look at these pet friendly stores.
Also, I’ve included a few baby dolls that have a realistic look, but aren’t creepy-looking… at least to me! There are LOTS of baby dolls that look SO real! It’s quite amazing!
Activity Books for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s
Now THESE are my mom’s cup-o’-tea! She LOVES activity books. She will look at her four favorite ones over-and-over again, because they feel ‘new’ to her each time she picks them up.
All these books include activities to keep the mind busy and focused. My mom loves the word searches, and the unusual activities such as looking at an image on the page, and choosing the silhouette that matches.
And here are a few more!
Toys for Mom with Dementia
Mom enjoys some toys, others not-so-much, which is normal.
Toys can keep your loved one busy and focused, and just gives them something more to do. Magnetic and building toys seem to fascinate my mom, and she especially loves the liquid motion bubblers.
Here are more motion bubblers, as well as some great additional options for play:
Crafts for Parents with Dementia
Is your mom a ‘maker’? You know, someone who loves to craft and create things, especially for the home?
When I was a young adult, my mom owned a ceramic business that hand-painted nursery (baby room) lamps, clocks, nightlights, and switchplates that coordinated with the trending nursery bedding sets on the market. Mom was an excellent artist, and really knew how to design well!
These items for crafting are wonderful for focused time alone, or something fun for you to do with your loved one.
Here are more items that would be fun to use for crafting with Mom on Mother’s Day!
Those sticker stain-glass kits look perfect for Mom! Off to order one… or three!
Puzzles for Mom with Alzheimer’s
Puzzles are another ‘life-saver’ for Mom and me.
However, one of the craziest things during this past year has been seeing how mom’s decline in her disease has affected her ability to put puzzles together, by herself. More than not, she now tries to put an edge piece in the middle of a puzzle, or put a totally different color in an area of another color. Boy, does she like to try and make those pieces FIT! It’s mind boggling what this disease does to the brain!
So, she either does 60 piece puzzles by herself (and this will turn into 35 piece soon), or we work on 300 piece puzzles together. With me ‘coaching’ by leaving pieces near the area they belong, or giving her a pile of pieces that go together, she is happy to sit with me for sometimes an hour and work on a large puzzle.
Plus, large puzzles get the brain tired, and act as a great ‘sleeping pill’. 😉
Here are more Wysocki puzzles, and some adult puzzles that have very few pieces. Mom has fun with children’s puzzles, too! (And, she doesn’t get bored with the same ones, because she doesn’t remember she did them before!)
The finger pop puzzle shown above reminds me of Tetris, a game many seniors use to play on the computer!
Blu-Ray and DVDs for Mom with Dementia
DVDs of old movies and classic musicals have also been a tremendous help, especially in the early evenings when ‘sundowners’ is at its ‘high’.
Keeping screen time to a minimum is important with dementia patients, and those trying to avoid dementia. We keep screen time limited usually to the evenings (there are exceptions), and we always keep the programs and movies ‘light’. Anything with issues that need to be resolved or anything that could cause the slightest depression or anxiety, we avoid. (Even home renovation shows can be depressing to Mom.)
When choosing shows and movies, stick with the classics: musicals, old comedies, series such as “I Love Lucy” or “The Andy Griffith Show” (though Andy has been upsetting Mom lately, too!)
Here are more of our favorites… remember, keep it lighthearted. And be sure to watch musicals since music is HUGE in soothing dementia patients. My mom and I often sing (loudly) along with the movies!
Digital Gifts for Patients with Dementia
Digital products can be difficult to use with our loved ones that have any type of dementia.
However, there are a few items that have been very helpful in our home. One is the clock shown below, as well as the ‘radio’ box.
Remember, teaching those with dementia something new is nearly impossible. It frustrates them, and you! So really think it through if the digital gift for your mom with dementia is worth the ‘learning curve’, if there is any.
The items below are helpful, too. I’m also leaving some links below the images for additional items that we use.
ViewClix Smart Frame – We first invested in this product during the pandemic. At the time, Mom was living in an assisted living community, and we were unable to visit her in person. Unfortunately, Mom didn’t know how to work a smart phone, so ViewClix was the answer. It is a “drop-in” video call smart frame. It is COMPLETELY controlled by the caretaker or anyone that has the app. The loved one with dementia doesn’t have to do anything… nothing! It is the best item we have ever bought for our mom.
RAZ Memory Cell Phone – This cell phone is really easy for a dementia patient to use. You program the phone through the online app by adding contacts’ numbers and their photos. If your loved one wants to make a call, they simply tap on the photo. They cannot dial out unless the photo is present. Also, no incoming calls can be taken unless the photo is present. So, no danger in phishing calls! Check it out for more features and details.
Personal Items for Mother’s Day for Mom with Dementia
Even moms that have memory loss KNOW they love to be pampered.
Mom has a ‘spa day’ two to three times a week where she gets a shower, her hair washed (once a week), and her body and feet are pampered. She still enjoys her showers, and I’m hoping this continues!
Along with some fragrant body items, I’m sharing some other items that your mom (or dad) would enjoy, whether they can remember or not. 🙂
Here are more personal items that your loved one might enjoy!
More Helpful Links for Caretakers
Whew! Now THAT is a list… and a half, right?
Well, here are more links the not only have additional gifts, but they also provide helpful information for caring for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s:
- Alzheimers Store – Great gifts and helpful info
- Daily Caring – Great site for all things dementia related
- Lo’Aids – Mobility and daily living aids… and much more!
I hope this was helpful to at least some of my readers! I would actually really like to know. Give me a shout-out in the comments if it was!